Most mornings I head to work with only sunscreen and reluctance on my face. I generally wear makeup when I’m feeling chunky, feeling sad, or have anything on the agenda that demands a little extra courage from me (meetings, presentations, the possibility that Peyton Manning might be roaming the hospital’s halls).

I completely understand the idea of war paint and not just because of my half Native American-ness. Makeup is like a power suit for my face. It just makes me feel better, more confident.

Except if I’m trying out a new look or style. Then I’m absurdly self-conscious and am convinced people are staring at me, Nancy Pants, The Homely Misguided Clown.

But I digress.

By and large if I’m feeling the need for makeup my contacts are going to be in (see here and here). This week I had a meeting I was feeling particularly angst-y about. And I must’ve let that angst cloud my routine the night before because for some reason I didn’t use my industrial strength contact lens cleaner appropriately.

I use the kind that has you put your contacts in little trap doors as though they were filmographers for Shark Week and submerge them in a caustic solution. The theory being that overnight a chemical reaction will convert the hydrogen peroxide (said caustic solution) to inert saline and the effervescence generated by that process will scrub all the eye scum off the lenses.

Contacts Normal Day

A normal day.

For whatever reason the chemical reaction didn’t happen the other night. Instead the solution remained hydrogen peroxide. There is really no way of knowing this short of putting the contact in your eye and experiencing:

Contacts without Chemical Rxn

A day something important is supposed to happen.


It feels like Satan ignited his fire-y gonorrhea laden (I mean, probably, right?) urine stream and shot it right into your eyeball.

A Better Pain Scale

via Hyperbole and a Half A Better Pain Scale.

So now not only do I have this important meeting, but I look as though I scrubbed my corneas with sandpaper. I needed to get of that redness and get of the redness fast lest I present myself as a high, recently sobbing, sleep deprived, or some combination therein, employee to the important meeting people.

I asked Google and frankly didn’t have the time to dally about getting more sleep, ingesting vitamin A and minimizing computer time. LIVE IN THE NOW, GOOGLE.

Finally I came upon more reasonable, time sensitive, ideas:

1) Saturate a washcloth in cold water and apply over the eyes.

2) Wrap ice cubes in a thin cloth and apply over the eyes.

3) Soak a cucumber slice in chilled rose water and apply over the eyes (uhh… yeah… reasonable I suppose for Boulder-ites, but maybe not the rest of the world).

4) Take two steeped tea bags, preferably black tea (for the caffeine), refrigerate for a few minutes, and apply to closed eyeballs.

5) Use a redness reliever eye drop. Which, duh. I didn’t have any on hand, but will now keep a rescue bottle in my makeup bag for just such an occassion.

The jist of all of these things is find a way to get the blood vessels of your eyes to constrict. If the blood vessels squeeze down, their blood bloating won’t be as apparent and therefore your richly vascularized (chock full of blood vessels) sclera (white part of your eye) will appear less red.

Once my eyes returned to a less “72 hour bender in Las Vegas” look, it was obviously going to be a glasses day. So how did I ensure I could still wear my war paint despite also wearing my glasses? Find out next week!